So it’s that time of year once again. General Conference. Where we can sit in our own house and listen to the church leaders speak to us while we snack and scroll through social media on our phones. Or pay super close attention. Or knit. Or whatever it is we each do that helps us make it through roughly 8 hours of talks over two days.
Some people take the week(s?) preceding General Conference more seriously than others. One of those people should probably be writing this post instead of me, the type who is still eating snacks the night before Fast Sunday and drinking water right before my “fast starting prayer.” In other words, I don’t really have any “preparing for General Conference” traditions or tools to increase my spirituality and ready myself for the messages.
Yet, here I am, writing a post about “readying yourself for General Conference.” I’m going to assume that you, like me, may struggle with anxiety or an anxiety disorder. If so, maybe you are feeling overwhelmed with conference coming. You might feel like you ought to be preparing more, like you should be praying and studying and doing more to get ready for the messages.
But it’s okay. You are okay. This is not a test. There are not proctors on the sidelines taking notes on how well you are getting ready or even how well you listen on Saturday and Sunday. Do what you can and take a deep breath. Even if you can’t listen or pay attention to General Conference, you can still read it online later or in the Ensign. I tend to get more out of doing that anyway.
So, what can we do? Should we do anything to prepare? Sure, of course you can—if you want! But don’t feel like you have to do x, y, or z to be a good Mormon. Your relationship with Heavenly Father and Christ are personal. They are individual to you. If you have a question, by all means pray about it and see if a talk helps you on Saturday or Sunday. If I get really ambitious, I might write in my journal sometime this week and see if any concerns or questions pop up as I do so. Sometimes that can be the hardest thing—finding quiet time to let our mind just think—and then not worrying about what we are thinking about.
What comes up? What is worrying you? What really matters when you give yourself time to pause? Finding that time to pause is so hard, though, at least if you are anything like me.
So that’s my advice as we lead up to General Conference weekend: try to take a few minutes to pause and think. Write, if that helps you. See where you are spiritually and mentally. Take stock. What questions do you have? What concerns or issues or needs do you have? And then watch or listen to General Conference and see what happens. Maybe you will get your answer, or maybe it will come later. But be willing to trust God. He wants you to feel your feelings and be who you are. Sure, He wants us to be happy, but I also think that He understands that sometimes we are sad or confused or unsure.
Let conference be a time where you can rest and find peace rather than be worried or anxious about what you are doing or not doing well enough. We are worried about that too much of the time already. Just enjoy it! (And if there are any talks you love or have questions about, let me know and maybe I’ll do a “scripture snapshot” about them 😉